Thursday 27 April 2017

‘Botched’ rent policy has worsened housing crisis

Kelly viewed as ‘single biggest cause of rent hikes’

Experts believe that landlords are now seizing on the current confusion to hike rents while at the same time investors are staying out of the market
Experts believe that landlords are now seizing on the current confusion to hike rents while at the same time investors are staying out of the market

Fionnan Sheahan, Daniel McConnell and Kevin Doyle

The rise in rents and growing accommodation crisis are now being linked directly by ministers to the botched attempt to bring in rent controls, which is dividing the Coalition.

The rift is seen as a symptom of Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s abrasive style and is causing mounting tensions within the Government – including on the Labour Party side.

Experts believe that landlords are now seizing on the current confusion to hike rents while at the same time investors are staying out of the market. This view is supported by senior members of the Government.

“The single biggest cause of rent hikes in the past six months is Alan Kelly,” a senior Government source said.

Mr Kelly is being blamed by ministerial colleagues for failing to come up with a workable plan, a situation that has  “encouraged landlords to increase rents in the meantime”.

Other ministers believe he also over-promised to backbenchers on stopping wind farms and went on a “solo run” in relation to the merger of Cork city and county councils.

The Labour deputy leader’s ‘style’ is causing growing difficulties within Government.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Kelly has indicated for the first time that he is now willing to settle for a short-term rent-certainty scheme in an effort to reach a deal with the Department of Finance, which opposes controls on the market. 

“If we don’t do something in the rental market soon, that problem is going to escalate into a crisis that hasn’t been seen before and dealing with rent is the only way short-term,” Mr Kelly said.

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